WINCHENDON, Mass. -- Sophomore Eric Bolden’s (Oswego, Ill.) power play goal with 3:45 remaining proved to be the game-winner as UMass Dartmouth overcame a two-goal second period deficit to notch a 5-3 non-league college ice hockey victory over Franklin Pierce Wednesday evening at Ritchie Arena.
Bolden provided the heroics for a third straight game for the visiting Corsairs (5-6), as he also netted the deciding tallies in a pair of wins over Worcester State and Stonehill last week. The host Ravens (5-6) grabbed a 2-0 advantage with a pair of goals in the final 3:40 of the opening period off the sticks of sophomore Justin Blanchette (Monroe, Conn.) and junior James Morrissey (New Haven, Conn.), but UMass Dartmouth sliced that margin in half on sophomore Kai Kapossy’s (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) power play marker with 8:23 to play in the second stanza. Senior Brendan McDonough (Wilmington, Mass.) evened matters for the visitors 4:29 into the final frame, but junior Alex Lester’s (Methuen, Mass.) goal less than three minutes later forged Franklin Pierce’s final lead of the night at 3-2.
That advantage lasted less than a minute after junior Cameron Mack (Long Beach, Calif.) provided the equalizer 53 seconds later for the Corsairs to set up the heroics by Bolden, who converted feeds from seniors Connor Court (Swansea, Ill.) and Hunter Wilhoite (Brentwood, Tenn.) on the go-ahead goal. Senior Jonathan Ruiz (Williamstown, N.J.) iced UMass Dartmouth’s third straight triumph and fifth in the last seven outings with an empty-netter that came with 45 seconds remaining in the contest.
McDonough added an assist to finish with a two-point performance in the win for UMass Dartmouth, which received a pair of helpers from freshman Jimmy Pelton (Syracuse, N.Y.) to go with single assists off the sticks of junior Steven Leonard (Rockaway Park, N.Y.) and sophomore Nicholas Short (Los Angeles, Calif.). Lester collected an assist to go with his marker in posting a two-point effort in the setback for Franklin Pierce, which also received a helper from junior Sean Munzing (Beverly, Mass.).
Freshman Chris Stangarone (White Plains, N.Y.) earned his first career victory with a 16-save effort in goal for the Corsairs, while freshman Kyle Martin (Westford, Mass.) made 32 stops in the setback for the Ravens. UMass Dartmouth outshot Franklin Pierce by a 37-19 margin and held a 41-37 edge in faceoff wins on the evening.
UMass Dartmouth heads into Boston on Saturday afternoon to take on fourth-ranked UMass Boston in a non-league outing that faces off at 4:00 pm, while Franklin Pierce will be idle until Friday, January 4, 2019 when the Ravens head to Springfield, Mass. to square off with Western New England in a non-league clash that faces off at 1:00 pm.
(Photo Credit: Lyrik Gelmete '21)